Fighting Through Grief While Moving Forward

Fighting Through Grief While Moving Forward
4.6
(49)

Overachieving is my jam. Go big or go home. I strive to be the best at whatever it is I do.

Currently, I am achieving greatness in my ability to fall. Three falls in three weeks is a new record.

The first one happened in the kitchen. Upon feeling myself keel, I grabbed the stovetop. Realizing I was too far gone, I prepared to hit the ground, but my wedding ring had other plans. It caught on the scant edge of the flat surface. No match for my body weight, the diamond flew from the basket, stretching the platinum band.

I hit the ground, my cheeks hot and burning with fresh tears of frustration.

As I began to rise, a prism of light caught my eye. It was my diamond. I stood and found my center of gravity before walking toward the light.

A fall generally invites unsolicited advice. How can I better manage my MS? Walk at a slower pace and pay attention to my surroundings. If only it were so simple. For this reason, I keep 95% of my falls to myself. Yet even I am beginning to question if my disease is progressing.

On my way to take my dog Abby to the vet, I lost my balance. While getting into the car, I fell into the open door, gashing my shin on the corner. I winced as the pain ricocheted from nerve to nerve. I held on to the steering wheel and lowered my head. I felt the warm trickle of blood fall to my foot. Late for our appointment, I ignored the pain and drove. Only after exiting the car did I see my blood-soaked sandal.

Crimson water cascaded over my sandal as I ran it under the faucet. Clean and new — a baptism. I yearned for the same. For a moment, I wondered if it were possible. And then that moment was gone. I am accustomed to transience. I live within the push-pull of progression, day in and day out. No two days are the same.

Yet some things are. I had my worst fall on a recent Saturday. I decided to vacuum as Abby was with the dog walkers. Vacuuming takes more effort than I care to admit, and while I have help, I still try to maintain a clean home in between. Upon their return, I made a rapid move to make it to the garage door.

In doing this, I tripped over the vacuum hose, flew across the hallway (where they saw me), and crashed into the hard travertine floor. The kids did not witness the impact, but the sound made it evident.

As pain seared through my body, I managed to claw my way up the cabinets to the counter. With a deep breath and all of the false bravado I could muster, I thanked the boys. Out of sight, they asked if I was OK. I feigned cheer and replied that I was.

It was after I knew the doors were closed that I let go. I sank to the floor and met the enormity of my grief with sobs.

That was seven days, 23 hours, and two minutes ago. The mammoth release of so many emotions has sobered my soul. It lends credibility to how much I fight to keep moving forward. Yet whether I brush away gently or push past, passing by emotions only saves them for later.

I think my new goal will be how to move forward without falling down.

***

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jennifer is a health writer and weekly columnist on multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, Jennifer is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Now with secondary-progressive MS, Jennifer hopes to elevate the patient voice to better the lives of those living with the disease. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling, and spending time at home in Orange County, California, with her husband and golden retriever.
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Jennifer is a health writer and weekly columnist on multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, Jennifer is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Now with secondary-progressive MS, Jennifer hopes to elevate the patient voice to better the lives of those living with the disease. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling, and spending time at home in Orange County, California, with her husband and golden retriever.
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12 comments

  1. Diane says:

    You are not alone. This has happened to me so often, exactly as you describe. Maybe misery loves company?!?
    It is a new kind of life we have to learn to survive and thrive in. Just sharing your experiences helps so much. Well written, wishing you more good days than bad!
    Didi

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Diane,

      You are so kind, thank you. I like to think we more enjoy lifting one another than the shared misery. You deserve nothing less!

      Wishing you wellness!

      Kindly,
      Jenn

  2. Suzanne says:

    Jennifer, You describe well how unsuspect moments can lead to falls and more. Two weeks ago, I was trying to be helpful to my daughter following the difficult birth of her second child. I was tired but wanted so badly to help her. I didn’t quite lift my left foot high enough to clear the kitchen mat, crashed to the floor, sent my grandson’s grilled cheese and plate into orbit and smacked my head hard on a cabinet. The self doubt about my ability to contribute that lies so close to the edge comes storming in to overwhelm me once again. I know the battle well.

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Suzanne,

      Thank you for sharing your own experience with your recent fall. Big hugs. The fall from our own perception of ability is perhaps the hardest of all. That self-doubt that creeps in is loud, but we are louder. I sometimes talk to it and tell it to go away. every time we show up we are telling our MS – nope not today.

      Kindly,
      Jenn

  3. Rick Sommers-Steinhaus, LMSW says:

    Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it with the MS Community. I am a 60 year old man living in NYC and am constantly reminded that my balance & endurance are long departed. I was dx’d in 1994 after running my 1st and only marathon, so like you, I do not take my falls “well”…and my wife even less “well”…I remember years ago when I still could, running for a nyc bus and falling dramatically so not to miss it. a had a bad spill and scrambled to get to my feet, brushing it off as “just another fall” and show that I was none worse for the tumble, but my unseen ego was pretty injured. So, I wanted to reach out and say “thanks for writing from the heart”.

    Best wishes,
    Rick S.

    NY, NY

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Hi Rick,

      Thank you for taking the time to write about your own experiences. Our falls are truly so much more than physical, and harder to recover from as our disease progresses.

      The ego seems to skin harder than the knee.

      Kindly,
      Jenn

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Alison,

      What a beautifully kind thing to say. We are all guiding one another with our collective light. Together we will light the way.

      Kindly,
      Jenn

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Sherri,

      Thank you so much. I pray you catch yourself more times than you fall. Remember, it’s the number of times we get up that define us.

      Kindly,
      Jenn

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